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The Eagle's Throne

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3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,359 ratings  ·  155 reviews
Here is a true literary event–the long-awaited new novel by Carlos Fuentes, one of the world’s great writers. By turns a tragedy and a farce, an acidic black comedy and an indictment of modern politics, The Eagle’s Throne is a seriously entertaining and perceptive story of international intrigue, sexual deception, naked ambition, and treacherous betrayal.
In the near future
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Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 13th 2007 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2002)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  1,359 ratings  ·  155 reviews


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MJ Nicholls
Dec 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Scribble Orca
More political satire, please! I have said this from the beginning. More Swifts and Voltaires. More swaggering wits cutting through the lies and cant from the power-mad hucksters who have the brass tack to attempt to rule us. Fuentes’s epistolary satire is a tremendous mix of Swift and Voltaire: rich in subtle wit and sophisticated analysis of the Mexican situation from a writer who has experienced almost a century of change and tumult. Recommended for those who like their wit acidic and learned ...more
Calzean
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
A black comedy and satire on politics in Mexico and politicians in particular.
The author sets the scene - Mexico has lost all forms of electronic communications as the USA has retaliated against Mexico's stance on oil prices and US military action in Latin America. So the book becomes a set of letters and transcripts of tapes sent between various Government officials, politicians, Machiavellian henchmen, Generals, assorted lovers and ex-Presidents.
Mexico - full of promise but full of corruption.
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Marc Gerstein
Feb 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Politics, satire, Latin American fiction; three reasons I thought I’d really be into this book. A decent Goodreads average rating helps too. Oh well, not quite, actually, not at all. Some reviews refer to surprise twists late in the story but I don’t know. I gave up at about the halfway point and would only have continued – and skimmed – had this been assigned reading in a mandatory college class or something like that.

The basic setup is as intriguing as intriguing could be. It’s 2020 and Mexico
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Robert Wechsler
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Not only a wonderful entertainment, but also has more excellent quotes about politics, particularly the ethical aspects (my work involves government ethics), than any novel I’ve read.

The novel consists of letters among high-level politicians, for the most part, commenting and plotting, looking back and looking ahead, humorous and sad, always lively and involving. The monologue is a wonderful thing in the right hands. And it’s best when short, as here.

Also, a wonderful translation into English by
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WordsBeyondBorders
Mar 28, 2012 rated it liked it

'Carlos Fuentes' like several other writers, has several times used the trope of putting in a fantastical social scenario at the core of the novel and work on it from there, exposing the underbelly of the society (or a part of it) as a whole. You have his own 'Christopher Unborn' and Saramago's several works as example of this. In 'The Eagle's Throne' Fuentes takes up one such scenario and this time the canvas is the Mexican political system, the politicians and of course the intrigues, betrayal
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Citlalli
Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Este libro realmente me dejó gratamente sorprendida. Resultó ser muy diferente de lo que esperaba, ya que creía que el foco de la historia sería el aislamiento de México de los medios modernos de comunicación. Después de leer las primeras 30 páginas pensé que iba a odiar este libro (debido a que todos los capítulos son cartas que los personajes se escriben entre sí) y que me iba a costar mucho trabajo terminarlo, pero ¡oh sorpresa sorpresa!... conforme fui avanzando le fui agarrando el sabor; y ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Carlos Fuentes, author of more than 20 books (including The Old Gringo and The Death of Artemio Cruz), knows politics intimately: he served in various government positions in Mexico and as Mexico's ambassador to France in the mid-1970s. The Eagle's Throne, a brilliantly scathing satire on presidential succession, is among Fuentes's best work. Inspired by Machiavelli's The Prince and other texts, Fuentes personalizes power plays through letters in which characters scheme, betray, plot murders, r

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Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
In the near future, the Mexican president defies the US and in response, the US pulls the plug on Mexico's telecommunications network. Reduced to communication via snail mail, or tape in some cases, the movers and shakers of Mexico's political world scheme and counter-scheme to decide who will be the next to ascend the eagle's throne, the seat of the President. Essentially an epistolatory thriller, and a dashed gripping one, this novel glimpses a different, more humane perspective in its final c ...more
Tim
I really wanted to like this book. I'd read and enjoyed several novels by Fuentes over ten years ago, such as "the Hydra Head", but hadn't read anything by him for a long time. This book has good patches of writing, but never coheres into a convincing whole - not helped by the epistolary form. In the end, disappointing, and maybe one of my three stars is for old times' sake.
Lamski Kikita
If you are a fan of Mike Rowe's "Dirty Jobs" on Discovery channel, after finishing this book you would be tempted to send the following note to him "Politicians have the dirtiest job that ever existed." I doubt he would want to do an episode on that, though.

Mexian Political Fiction at its best: mysterius, secretive, scandelous, sexual, dirty, disgusting; full of betrayal, hidden agendas, love triangles, strong opinions, crazy predictions, and conspiracy theories. "Sex can be immediate, only to e
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Mark
Jan 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
i received this book as a gift from a friend, a co-worker from my short stint in the mexican jungles. it sat on my shelf half a yearm til the old man's passing reminded me to pick it up and give it a chance. i didn't imagine, at the time, that an epistolary novel about mexican electoral politics could be engaging, even moving. but so it is. the book is full of intrigue, suspense, surprise, charm, and betrayal. it's told as a series of letters between the various parties involved in cabinet of th ...more
Bob
Feb 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: latin-america
Fuentes could have done much more with this. The near-future setting is used only to justify the epistolary novel form that he uses: there is never any speculation on how Mexico might solve some of its problems. The letters are cleverly written, stylistically distinct, and clearly convey a complex plot, but characters are all motivated by the same ambitions for political power, and the conclusion (which is deeply moving and lyrical) comes as a shock. What remains is a series of witty and cynica ...more
John
Sep 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
This fiction book based on the political maneuvering, deceiving and scheming associated with a presidential succession in Mexico kept me engaged throughout. However, it was much more than a political thriller. Its characters were interesting and the vehicle for its brutal and entertaining depiction of the realities and decision-making not only of politicians but people in general. Also, the pessimistic generalizations about society and politics in Latin America, specifically about corruption was ...more
Shannon
Aug 04, 2009 rated it did not like it
I had a really hard time getting into this book and keeping all of the characters straight. I just couldn't find enough to keep my interest to the end so did not finish it. Friends of mine who did finish it liked it more than I did although most felt that the book fell short. One friend from my real life bookclub loved it, and loved the inter-connectedness of the characters and pretty much everything about it.

Sometimes I wonder if it is a problem with translation when I am not enjoying a book th
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Tomfoolery72
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I reached Chapter 70 - the final chapter of the novel - having thoroughly enjoyed everything about this story; political intrigue is not usually my thing, but I finished this book in one night, so. Then the last chapter changed everything - and it broke my heart. I work with disabled children, and when I realized what (and who) the final chapter was going to contain, I almost had to stop reading and abandon ship a few pages from the end. But I read it anyways. Ugh. Still a 5 star book for me, bu ...more
Matt
Apr 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
because the setup for this book was so good (Mexico 2020, because of privatising all services, after dispute the usa cuts off all phone/internet communication, so everyone is reduced to posting letters/cassette-tapes, each chapter is another letter), I felt sad not to enjoy it more.
Lots of good political goings on, all trying for The Eagles Throne, but I just didn't really hook in with the people... I didn't really grow to know, love or hate them enough.
Sam Conniff
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I got into Fuentes when I married my (Mexican) wife, his stories are one of the best way to understand the deeply complicated, nuanced and corrupt political backdrop to Mexican life, family, law and society. I've read most and they are all brillaint.
Federico Astolfi
Insight to recent Mexican politics. So cruel.
Brian
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A future history of Mexico during a crisis told through letters between politicians. I wouldn't have liked it so much except for the quality of the writing.
Museveni
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel
A series of outlandish revelations. Good political takeaway: out of every crisis, an opportunity
Connect-ion Found
Oct 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: voyeurs
Recommended to Connect-ion by: J.Estes Recommended Fuentes in 2003
This November Carlos Fuentes turns eighty and never does his literature seem more relevant than today. It is often said in the circle of art criticism that time is the test of a work’s genius. Fuentes’ novels stand that test and border the line to prophesizing.
During election season while politicians sling political speeches across your heartstrings I encourage you to read a bit of Carlos Fuentes and learn the way of a politician’s heart. The Eagle’s Throne is characterized as political satire,
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Robert LoCicero
Apr 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A rather extraordinary work by a brilliant author. In this complex work of political and social philosophy we are presented with a story in which the Mexican President has disturbed the United States economically resulting in the cessation of all television and radio service in Mexico. Government and legislative officals communicate through written letters and each chapter represents the unfolding of the plot in which characters plan and execute courses of action designed to further their politi ...more
Bonnie
Aug 10, 2015 added it
I'm not sure if I liked this book or not. The plot was a long slow burn even up to the very end - not particularly a page turner. The conceit of satellite communications being cut off had absolutely no effect on the plot - it was merely an excuse for the epistolary format among politicians who would not normally commit to a written record of their sins. So many sins, transgressions, affairs, murders, blackmailings, backstabbings, swindles, denunciations, etc etc...

And yet I did read the entire t
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Michael
Jun 01, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
I got through about 50 pages before putting this one down. I'm sure Fuentes has some fascinating lights to shine on the area of Mexican politics (which is certainly ripe for literary analysis), but I found the medium in this instance to frustrate more than entice. The book takes as its setting a Mexico in 2020 that has lost all electronic means of communication because its Miami-based satellite has encountered a mechanical failure (brought on by Mexico's political demands on the US). On that pre ...more
Miguel
May 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
I had the feeling of being before a good idea that is executed poorly and even hastily.

The plot is interesting -although a very notorious part demands the reader to concede too much-, but morbid without need. This epistolary story has a protagonist figure that undergoes a self-growth quest by learning how the (Mexican) political apparatus operates and who is surrounded by a range of characters that tend to be portrayed as unidimensional and who are supposed to represent the "system". Granted, t
...more
Chetan Dhadankar
Feb 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Read for a book club - hence finished. Might not have been able to complete otherwise.
Some good streaks of writing have been diluted by a plot that is a bit outlandish, too movie-like. The format is great, good piece of experimental writing.
Javier
Jul 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Fuentes is a great Mexican writer, even though he has a peculiar style to write that sometimes is hard to follow.
The novel is narrated from the perspectives of different members in the mexican government, and how the plot between them and against them to place a man as President in a near future.
This novel became popular again in the time of presidential elections in Mexico, and even though it is fiction, all the plots might turn out be true.
A great novel that reveals the reality of the mexic
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Carlos
Aug 01, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No
A decent story, but much of the satirical value of the book was lost on me because I am not versed in Mexican political history. I felt that Fuentes phoned this one in. The Death of Artemio Cruz is an example of how great of a satirist he can be. This book was not even close. I also felt that the narrative style (i.e. the book consists letters from each character to the others) was too constraining and distracting.
Kelli
Apr 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: unfinished
I have not finished this book yet, but I want to start over again this summer. It is quite interesting, and poses some interesting theories and scenarios. Basically, Mexico pisses off an oil-rich country and they cut off their communications satellite, leaving them without any electron communications. If it is controlled by a satellite, it is gone. Can you imagine? I haven't finsihed it so I can't offer the best review, but I would recommend it based on what I have read.
Laila
Apr 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Almost didn't finish this but I'm glad that I did. I wouldn't recommend it for everyone, especially if you are not interested politics, Mexico, power struggle etc. There were a lot of characters to keep straight so I only got clear pictures of some of them. I found the format of the book frustrating at times (all written in letters to other characters) but I think the author pulled it off quite nicely.
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Carlos Fuentes Macías was a Mexican writer and one of the best-known novelists and essayists of the 20th century in the Spanish-speaking world. Fuentes influenced contemporary Latin American literature, and his works have been widely translated into English and other languages.

Fuentes was born in Panama City, Panama; his parents were Mexican. Due to his father being a diplomat, during his childhoo
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